IsDB Group Organizes an International Symposium to Foster the culture of Accountability and Learning

sympos01.jpgThe main purpose of the IDB Group is to foster the economic development and social progress of its member countries individually as well as jointly in accordance with the principles of the Shari’ah. With an amount of cumulative approvals of USD 78 billion in both trade and project financing and a record of USD 8.3 billion in 1432, IDB Group ought to intensify its efforts to assess its level of effectiveness. The purpose here is to find out whether the financing brought by IsDB Group made any difference, learn from the experience and maximize the likelihood of achieving IsDB’s mission. To enable that, an international symposium of three days (22nd to 24th January 2012) gathered senior IDB Group staff and experts from Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) of the World Bank Group, Operations Evaluations (OPEV) of the African Development Bank (AfDB), United Arab Emirates’ Office of Coordination of Foreign Aid (OCFA), Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD-DAC) and International Initiative of Impact Evaluation (3IE).

The symposium included a one-day plenary session that discussed the broad principles and good practice standards guiding the independent and self-evaluation and their respective roles in ensuring accountability and learning. It also shed light on the complementarities between self-evaluation and independent evaluation and discussed the evaluation relevance to institutional development. It was then followed by two full days of workshops which focused on standards and practices for evaluation of private and public sectors operations. 

Highlighting the Common “Evaluation Quality Standards” Language
sympos02.jpgDuring the event, the Arabic Version of the Evaluation Quality Standards (EQS) of the OECD-DAC was officially launched. The document released was a joint effort by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the OECD, the IsDB Group and the UAE’s Office of Coordination of Foreign Aid (OCFA). This Arabic edition of the EQS practically fills in a gap for evaluators and evaluation practitioners of the Arab world. The initiative follows the release in 2008 of the trilingual (Arabic, English and French) version of the Glossary of Key Terms in Evaluation and Results Based Management.

Underlining partnership as instrumental for the implementation of the IDBG Vision 2020, the IDB Group Chairman, Dr. Ahmed Mohamed Ali, appreciated the collective collaboration by all the partners who contributed to releasing of the evaluation quality standards and anticipated that these standards will become an important reference for Arab development institutions, Arabic-speaking countries and other international partners. Dr. Ali also called for intensifying IDB Group efforts to enhance development effectiveness and strengthen evaluation culture in the bank and in the member countries.

The success of the joint effort in translating and disseminating the Glossary led to establishment of contacts between IsDB, AfDB, OECD-DAC and OCFA to translate into Arabic, print and disseminate the DAC “Quality Standards for Development Evaluation”, said Mr. Mohameden Sidiya, Director of the IsDB Group Operations Evaluation (GOE) Department. Highlighting the objectives behind the release of these Arabic set of standards, Mr. Sidiya said that, “anybody who wants to evaluate the effectiveness of development policies and programs in Arabic speaking countries, now has access to very clear standards which are well known and accepted internationally”. The launch of the document was followed by various panel discussions on the mainstreaming of the evaluation function in the multilateral development banks (MDBs) with an emphasis on the case of IsDB.

Promoting Evaluation Good Practices Standards
As a result of the ongoing evaluation efforts underway by its independent evaluation department, the IDB Group has been a full member of the Evaluation Cooperation Group (ECG) since 2010, along with eight other multilateral development banks. The ECG has set a series of good practices standards for both private and public sector evaluation. During the symposium, Dr. Marvin Taylor-Dormond, Director, Private Sector Evaluation of IEG - World Bank Group said that: “The independent evaluation units of these MDBs are committed to applying high standards, sharing knowledge, and continuously improving their practices in evaluating the effectiveness of the work done by the major multilateral banks of the world”.

Private Sector Evaluation
The symposium included one-day workshop led by Dr. Marvin T. Dormond and Mr. Sid Edelman of IEG – World Bank Group. The workshop was attended by 35 staff from IDB, ICIEC, ICD and ITFC. The participants learnt from each other, gained a better understanding of various approaches to evaluation of private sector operations. They also discussed on how best to apply them in their self-evaluation in collaboration with the GOE Department. This learning event triggered new ideas for future collaboration on building up evaluation systems within IDB Group entities. It also created a momentum for harmonization of self and independent evaluation in the private sector operations of ICD, Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Division and other Operations’ Departments, by equipping professionals engaged in funding, supervision and evaluation of private sector projects with the tools to measure and improve development outcomes of the projects funded by the IDB Group.

sympos04.jpgPublic Sector Evaluation
The symposium included also one-day workshop led by Mr. Mohamed H. Manai from OPEV – African Development Bank and Mr. Muinul Hassan, Lead Evaluation Specialist of IsDB GOE Department. The workshop was attended by 32 staff from all the major operations and cross-cutting departments of IsDB Group. The participants gained a deeper understanding of the various approaches that can be adopted in conducting public sector self and independent evaluation. This learning event equipped professionals engaged in funding, supervision and evaluation of public sector projects with the tools to perform effective performance measurement to improve the development outcomes and results of the projects funded by the IDB Group. It also enabled participants to discuss the use of international good practice standards and the linkages between independent evaluations and self-assessment.